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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Michigan

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Muskegon Man Sentenced To Over A Year In Prison For Embezzling Labor Union Funds

          GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN — U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge announced today that United States District Court Judge Paul L. Maloney sentenced Hasan Zahdeh, a former resident of Muskegon, Michigan, to 14 months in a federal prison for embezzling Michigan Union of Healthcare Workers’ (MUHW) funds.  Hasan Zahdeh was also ordered to pay $140,498.03 restitution to MUHW and, following his release from prison, to serve 3 years of supervised release.

          According to court documents, between approximately May 2017 to about November 2020, while serving as MUHW’s president, Hasan Zahdeh embezzled union funds by using the MUHW’s debit card and using union checks to pay for personal, unauthorized expenses such as international travel, utility bills, home maintenance, and communication bills.  The Department of Labor Office of Labor-Management Standards (DOL-OLMS) began investigating Hasan Zahdeh and the accuracy of the MUHW labor organization annual report he filed as the union’s president after DOL-OLMS determined that the total amount of legal services invoiced to MUHW was much less than the amount reported and that invoices submitted in support of the report reflected expenses not related to union business.   In January 2021, a Grand Jury for the Western District of Michigan returned an indictment charging Hasan Zahdeh embezzlement and theft of union funds.

          In April 2021, Hasan Zahdeh entered into a plea agreement in which he admitted that he (1) falsified union records; (2) wrote four checks to MUHW’s attorney, forged the attorney’s signature on the back of each check, and then deposited each check into his personal bank account; (3) deposited MUHW dues into his personal bank accounts; (4) directed his child to deposit MUHW dues checks into his account and wire him the funds; (5)  opened a personal bank account, misrepresented it to MUHW members as a bank account held by MUHW, and then directed MUHW members to direct deposit their dues into this account; and (6) used the MUHW funds he embezzled for personal expenses not authorized by MUHW. 

          U.S. Attorney Birge commented that “When union officers such as Hasan Zahdeh abuse their authority and line their own pockets, my office will pursue justice, including restitution where appropriate.”

          This case was a cooperative effort among Department of Law Office of Labor-Management Standards and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Michigan.  Assistant United States Attorney Kristin M. Pinkston represented the United States.

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Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Updated September 8, 2021